28 July 2016
The Royal Navy is carrying out seabed survey operations off Jersey’s south coast.
HMS Gleaner arrived in June and will remain here until the middle of September. She has been tasked by the Navy to update charts along the main routes into St Helier as these are used for Royal Navy vessels conducting high speed navigation training. The waters around Jersey with its vast tidal range and strong tidal streams provide the perfect place to test aspiring navigators as part of the Royal Navy’s Fleet Navigating Officers Course.
HMS Gleaner’s work will only cover a small proportion of the Jersey territorial sea but that work is being carried out with sophisticated multi-beam equipment and analytical software. It will be the first time such a thorough survey has taken place in many years. The data will lead to updated charts from the UK Hydrographic Office in Taunton, for purchase by the public.
Under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention, Jersey has a responsibility to arrange for the collection and compilation of hydrographic data and its publication in order to ensure safe navigation. HMS Gleaner’s work is helping to meet that commitment.
In the longer term the work to extend the survey to shallow areas off Les Minquiers, the east coast and elsewhere will be investigated by the Territorial Seas Consultation and Advisory Group (TSCAG) which brings together representatives from the Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, Environment and External Relations Departments.
The Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, Senator Lyndon Farnham, said “We are very pleased and grateful the Navy has resourced this summer’s programme. Effective sea-bed mapping goes beyond navigational safety, providing valuable data for environmental and economic purposes.”
Hydrographic surveys were carried out in Jersey waters in the nineteenth century using rather limited lead-line methods and further surveys have taken place at various times from the 1950s to the 1990s using more modern sonar equipment.